It’s possible that you have NEVER made anything with beads. It’s also quite possible that your not sure where to start, or how to start.
The internet, is your friend. And your friend, offers all kinds of free beading patterns, with instructions, and some even show you how to bead a new stitch. All for free! Yes, FOR FREE!!!
Your first project
If you are a complete beginner, I highly suggest you try something simple to familiarize yourself with beading. A good start would be a beaded necklace. Choose something simple, such as a single strand necklace, with a clasp. If this is your first time creating a piece of jewelry, you don’t want to dive in head first, to a netted mesh, or a peyote stitch. But, in time, you may find yourself comfortable enough to try these harder patterns. For now, stick with something easy. Get an idea of tying on clasps, and hiding the tail of your thread, within the piece itself. Experiment with different clasps, earring findings, jump rings, O rings, and the like, to find which ones you prefer to work with.
I know what I want to make – now what?
Once you have decided on a project, the next thing that I like to do, is sit down and make a list of what color beads I want to use, the size of the bead, and everything I will need to complete my project.
If you download a pattern online, it will usually tell you what kind of bead is used in the picture of said project, how many of each color, needle size, thread, and findings. You DO NOT have to follow the color scheme on the pattern. Feel free to do your own color scheme. The pattern is just a guideline to help you. You may want to get a different type of clasp, or use a different type of bead. It’s all up to you and your imagination.
Once your list is complete, it’s time to go get your supplies. This is where the fun begins. Be warned, it CAN be overwhelming, as you will find that there are 1000s of choices for all of your materials. Try to stick with your original choices, but, if you see something that really catches your eye, then go ahead and change up your colors, or type of bead.
Most cities will have a “bead shop” somewhere. These shops are always really neat, because they carry only materials for beading. If you’re not sure where there’s one near you, google it. You may be surprised to find that there is more than one local bead shop. Or, you can go to your local Corporate craft store, such as Michaels Crafts. Michaels has a very large and great selection of beads and findings.
I personally prefer to go to a bead shop, as they not only have a much better selection, but, you can also buy beads individually. You don’t have to buy an entire string of a certain color of bead, if you only wanted 5 colors that you want to incorporate into your piece. These shops also carry unique beads, that you won’t find at your neighborhood craft store, or would otherwise have to order online.
When you set out to shop for your list, give yourself at least a one to two hour window to shop. You’ll find that you can spend hours, walking around and taking it all in. You will most likely have your creative juices going into overdrive too! Once you start looking around, you will probably have all kinds of ideas of bead crafts, popping up in your head.
Yes, beading is easily addictive. But, don’t worry, you won’t have to have rehab for your addiction. Well, maybe you won’t, maybe you will. But, a beading addict never has to worry about it affecting their health!
Ready to start your project
Once you’ve gotten what you need, I suggest that you find a large, open work space. Your dining room table, or a work bench will do, just make sure that you have plenty of room around you.
I like to put all the beads I’m using in a container. Old ice trays work great for this. If you have more than one color you’re using, I highly suggest you put each color in a separate container, or, if using an ice tray, in a separate bin. Get out your instructions for your project, if you have any. If you are following specific instructions, it will tell you how much thread you need to start with. I always like to add an additional 6 inches to whatever the instructions suggest. Only because I have opted to add a larger bead in the middle of my piece before, and that spacing needs to be accounted for.
Stringing beads can get a bit nerve-wracking. I usually scoop my beads onto my beading needle. I can get about 15 seed beads on a size #12 beading needle. I do suggest that you look around on the internet, as there are many ways to string beads. If you are using one color, there are some VERY inventive ways to make a bead spinner, using everyday household products. I know I’ve made one out of an empty butter container in the past. Works like a charm! I got that idea off of a website.
As I have mentioned before, the internet is your friend. USE IT!
Experiment, have fun
I hope this has helped you prepare for your first, or maybe your tenth project. Just keep in mind, there is no right or wrong way to make a piece of jewelry. It is all up to you and your imagination. Whatever you make will always be unique, because you made it. You made it with your own heart and soul.
Be proud of everything you make. It’s a work of art. Every single piece.
Happy Beading my friends!